Whitebacked woodpecker

Dendrocopos leucotos

SUBFAMILY Picinae

TAXONOMY

Picus leucotos Bechstein, 1802.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Owston's woodpecker; French: Pic a dos blanc; German: Weissruckenspecht; Spanish: Carpintero de Lomo Blanco.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

9.8-11.0 in (25-28 cm), 3.2-5.6 oz (92-158 g); A pied woodpecker with white cheeks, white forehead and lower back, white breast shading to pale pink and deeper pink vent area; male with prominent red cap; female with black cap. Birds in southeast Europe have vermiculated white back.

DISTRIBUTION

Found in a broad band across forested areas of northern Eurasia from Fennoscandia to Kamchatka and Japan; many isolated populations in montane and island areas

HABITAT

Wet mixed forest, often near rivers or lakes

BEHAVIOR

Has a large home range, moving great distances to areas with many dead and dying trees in order to find preferred foods. Drumming has been likened to a bouncing ping-pong ball— a strong beginning accelerating to a weaker end "bouncing to a halt."

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Feeds primarily on insects, especially wood-boring beetles; spends considerable time excavating beetle larvae from near the base of willows and alders.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Courtship often begins in February; nests often high in rotted stub or utility pole; clutch of 3-5 eggs incubated by both parents for 14-16 days; both adults tend nestlings which fledge at 27-28 days.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened globally, but considered regionally threatened by forest clearing and disturbance.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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